Aldo Vanucci - "You're All Show" (feat Kylie Auldist - Smoove remix Craig Charles edit)
Lack Of Afro - "The Outsider" (part 2)
Mop Mop - "Run Around" (feat Fred Wesley & Anthony Joseph)
Euro Cinema - "Koekwaus"
Saskwatch - "Second Best"
The James Taylor Quartet - "Blow Up"
The Bongolian - "The Riviera Affair"
Hot 8 Brass Band - "Ghost Town"
Hidden Jazz Quartett - "High Heels" (feat Omar - Lack Of Afro remix)
The Perceptions - "Bite The Bit"
Jessica Lauren Four - "Happiness Train" (featt Jocelyn Brown)
Omar - "There's Nothing Like This" (feat Pino Palladino)
Dr Rubberfunk - "Creek Walk"
Cookin' On 3 Burners - "Cars"
Deep Street Soul - "What She Said"
The Sweet Vandals - "Feel Alive"
Emma Beatson & The Hawkmen - "Do It" (Mako & The Hawk version)
Tape Five - "Geraldine's Routine"
Review: Self-proclaimed "complete package" Craig Charles (actor, poet, DJ, radio host, stand-up) seems to be enjoying life as Britain's most famous funk and soul fan. Here, he curates a second installment of his Funk & Soul Club compilation series. Predictably, there's plenty to tickle the fancy, from the reggae-soul-house shuffle of Lack of Afro's remix of Hidden Jazz Quartet's "High Heels", and the psychedelic funk madness of The Bongolian's "The Riviera Affair", to the celebratory release of Jessica Lauren Four's "Happiness Train" (featuring a brilliant vocal from old Jocelyn Brown), and a pair of ripsnorting cover versions (Cookin' On Three Burners' fantastic take on Numan's "Cars" and Hot Eight Brass Band's famous remake of the Specials' "Ghost Town").
Brian Auger's Oblivion Express - "Foolish Girl" (feat Alex Ligertwood)
The New Mastersounds - "Tantalus"
The Getup - "Hush"
Orquesta Akokan - "Mambo Rapidito"
Gizelle Smith - "Scared Of Something"
Menagerie - "Spiral"
Review: Craig Charles' annual "Funk & Soul Club" compilations are fast becoming as much of a Christmas tradition as turkey, dodgy decorations and ill-advised snogs at office parties. As with its predecessor, this sixth volume does a good job in showcasing the best in modern funk, soul, Afrobeat and heavy Latin jams, with a few stone cold classics thrown in (see the Mighty Ryeders' peerless "Evil Vibrations"). Look out for deep and heavy funk gems from the Bamboos, the New Mastersounds and Lance Ferguson's Rare Groove Spectrum, some suitably smooth fare from Courtney Pine and Omar, a scintillating, salsa-focused cover of "Papa Was a Rolling Stone" by Scotland's Grupo Magnetico, and a dash of dancefloor goodness from funk breaks scene stalwarts Smoove and Turrell.
Review: Many African disco enthusiasts will already be familiar with the title track of Benis Cletin's 1979 debut album, Jungle Magic, thanks to the fine re-edit Sofrito released back in 2011. Few, though, will have heard the whole album, which here gets a well-deserved reissue on CD. Cletin's take on Afro-disco-calypso-funk fusion is undeniably sweet, with cuts such as "Mr Teacher" and "Love Forever" balancing the needs of dancefloors with a cheery looseness that's never less than intoxicating. Highlights include the urgent, synth-laden Afro-funk grunt of "Fireman", and the touching, down-tempo tribute to Africa, "Beautiful Continent".
Review: Kalita Records announce the first ever and definitive discography of Carrie Cleveland. Here, they offer an expanded version of her 1978 album 'Looking Up', including both the issue and promotional versions of her single 'Make Love To Me', and the previously unknown sweet soul single 'I've Got A Feeling'.
Privately arranged, recorded and produced by Carrie and her husband Bill as a labour of love in their backyard studio in 1978, 'Looking Up' is one of the most in-demand soul/disco LPs in existence, sought-after in particular for their track 'Love Will Set You Free'. In addition, the promotional version of Carrie's single 'Make Love To Me' is one of the best and rarest sweet soul records to have emerged out of the West Coast soul scene, and her single 'I've Got A Feeling' is until today virtually unknown even to the most seasoned of collectors, with even Carrie herself unsure if it was ever released. With the album originally pressed in a limited run of just 1000 with 500 copies of each single, original copies of Carrie's records deservingly command eye-watering figures on the second-hand market. Kalita now satisfy the thirst with the first ever official reissue of her entire discography.
The CD is accompanied by a mini-poster and includes extensive interview-based liner notes and never before seen photos, detailing Carrie and Bills' life and musical career.
Review: She may be best known as a TV and radio presenter, but Nigerian star Julie Coker also enjoyed a short but successful music career. She released two albums of note - highlife-focused 1976 debut "Ere Yon (Sweet Songs)" and 1981's more disco-centric "Tomorrow" - both of which now fetch eye-watering sums online. This fine retrospective showcases cuts from both of those sets, with the many highlights including the spacey, delay-laden highlife cheeriness of "Re Hese", the Clavinet-sporting disco-funk-goes-pop bounce of "It's All For You", the low-slung but rising, gospel influenced brilliance of "Gossiper Scandal Monger" and the heavily percussive, off-kilter goodness of album closer "Iyo-Re". You might also notice the intro of 'Ere Yon', which was recently sampled to great effect in Anderson .Paak's "Saviers Road"!
Motihar Trio, Schweizer Trio, Schoof & Wilen - "Yaad"
George Gruntz - "Djerbi"
The Albert Mangelsdorff Quartet - "Never Let It End"
Smoke - "Shelda"
Michael Naura Quartet - "Soledad De Murcia"
The MPS Rhythm Combination & Brass - "Timbales Calientes"
El Babaku - "El Babaku"
Hannibal & The Sunrise Orchestra - "Revelation"
Tony Scott & The Indonesian Allstars - "Burungkaka Tua"
Dave Pike Set - "Raga Jeeva Swara"
Review: As part of their ongoing 50th birthday celebrations, German jazz label MPS asked Italian musician and crate digger Nicola Conte to trawl through their archives for spiritual gold. The result is "Cosmic Forest", an eye-opening set of largely obscure and little known tracks originally recorded between 1965 and 75. There is much "straight-up" spiritual jazz to enjoy (Nathan Davis' "Evolution" being a prime example), but it's the cuts that draw on a wider palette of influences that really stand out. Check, for example, the Middle Eastern flourishes of George Gruntz's "Djerbi", the hippy-ish vocal bliss of The Third Wave's "Maiden Voyage", the meditative jazz raga that is "Yaad" by Motihar Trio, Schweizer Trio, Schoof & Wilen, and the tropical drums of "El Babaku" by El Babaku.
Review: Having previously impressed with their reissue of Patrick Cowley's brilliant, all-synthesizer soundtrack to obscure '70s gay porn flick School Daze, Dark Entries and Honey Sound System once again join forces to shine a light on the high energy disco pioneer's work for San Francisco's Fox Studios. Unsurprisingly, it's another impressive collection, and features material recorded for a number of different pornographic films. There are naturally more up-tempo moments - see "Somebody To Love Tonight", which would later be re-recorded with Sylvester, and the synth-weirdness-meets-jazz-funk brilliance of "5oz of Funk" - but it's the impressively cosmic and exotic ambient moments, such as the stand-out "Timelink" and "Jungle Magic", that really stand out.